FAQs

Overview

The Condor Array Telescope is an "array telescope" made up of six 180 mm-diameter refracting telescopes—each equipped with a focal-reducing field corrector, large-format CMOS camera, motorized filter wheel, and motorized focuser—attached to a common remote-controlled mount.
The Condor Array Telescope is funded by the Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation program of the National Science Foundation.
The Condor Array Telescope will be located at the El Sauce Observatory operated by the Obstech robotic remote observatory in the Rio Hurtado Valley of Chile.

The El Sauce Observatory is situated around 27 km south of the Gemini telescope and LSST at Cerro Pachon, around 35 km south of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory at Cerro Tololo, and around 138 km south of the La Silla Observatory of the European Southern Observatory and enjoys some of the best astronomical conditions in the world.
The Condor Array Telescope is expected to be deployed to the El Sauce Observatory in Chile in (Northern Hemisphere) summer of 2020.
The primary research objectives of the project include (1) studying the low-surface-brightness outer regions of the Milky Way, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, and other nearby and distant galaxies and (2) studying transiting planets, gravitational microlensing events, and stars at a very rapid cadence of 60 s.

The primary education and public outreach objectives of the project include (3) executing a far-reaching broader impacts program using 20% of the available observation time, of which half of this time is allocated to faculty and students at historically black colleges and universities.

Technical

The Condor Array Telescope is made up of six Telescope Engineering Company (TEC) APO180FL 180 mm-diameter apochromatic refracting telescopes. These telescopes feature oil-spaced apochromatic-triplet objective lenses with a fluorite middle element and multi-layer anti-reflective coatings on all surfaces.

The telescope tubes contain specially-designed optical baffles coated with Nano-Lab "Singularity Black" carbon nanotube paint. At most optical and near-infrared wavelengths, the reflectivity of the Singularity Black paint is less than 1.25%, which serves to significantly reduce stray and reflected light.

The focal length of each TEC APO180FL telescope is 1260 mm, which yields a focal ratio of f/7. But the telescopes will be used with an Astro-Physics (A-P) 0.72x quad telecompressor, which yields an effective focal length of 907 mm and an effective focal ratio of f/5. The effective focal ratio of the six telescopes together, considered as a single instrument, is f/2.
Each of the six telescopes that make up the Condor Array Telescope is equipped with a ZWO ASI6200MM cooled monochrome CMOS camera based on the large-format Sony IMX455 back-illuminated sensor. The sensor consists of a 9576 x 6388 array of 3.76 micron pixels equipped with a 16-bit ADC. The sensor features a read noise as low as 1.3 electrons, a maximum full-well capacity as large as 51 k electrons, a peak quantum efficiency of around 80%, and a maximum full-resolution frame rate of 3.2 fps.
The six TEC APO180FL telescopes that make up the Condor Array Telescope will be mounted onto a Planewave L-600 half-fork mount with equatorial wedge. The mount features direct-drive motors and precision encoders on each axis, slew speeds of up to 50 degrees per second, and zero backlash and periodic error. The telescopes will be attached to the mount using a bracket custom designed and fabricated by Optec.
The Condor Array Telescope consists of six 180 mm-diameter refracting telescopes. That is directly equivalent to the light-gathering ability of a single 441 mm-diameter refracting telescope. But because refracting telescopes are more efficient than reflecting telescopes of the same aperture due to the lack of central obstruction (around 30%) and the higher efficienty of transmissive versus reflective optics (around 10%), the effective light-gathering capbility of the Condor Array telescope is roughly equivalent to that of a 520 mm- or 0.52 m-diameter reflecting telescope.

Getting Started

You can learn more about the project by consulting the documentation and by reading the blog. The project is just geeting off the ground and is proceeding rapidly, so check back often to learn of the latest results.
The primary objective of the Condor Array Telescope is scientific research, but 20% of the available observing time on the telescope is specifically set aside for education and public outreach activities. And half of this allocation is specifically set aside for faculty and students at historically black colleges and universities. The project is developing specific education and public outreach programs, so check back soon to learn more.
An allocation of 10% of the available observing time on the Condor Array Telescope is specifically set aside for faculty and students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). This allocation may be used for any combination of research, education, or public outreach. The project is developing specific programs for faculty and students at HBCUs, but in the mean time, please contact us by email at info@condorarraytelescope.org.
National Science Foundation

The Condor Array Telescope gratefully acknowledges funding from the National Science Foundation.

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OBSERVATORY
El Sauce Observatory, Chile

HEADQUARTERS
Stony Brook University